Background: Cigarettes and other tobacco products act 2003 (COTPA) is the principal law governing tobacco control in India. Government of Maharashtra in one of its landmark decisions also banned manufacturing, sale and distribution of gutka and pan masala since July 2012. The desired impact and level of enforcement of the COTPA legislation and the gutka and pan masala ban in Maharashtra State, however, needs assessment. Among the many provisions within COTPA, the present study seeks to assess compliance to implementation and enforcement of Section 5 and 6 of COTPA including compliance to gutka and pan masala ban in Mumbai, India.
Methodology: Six educational institutes (EI) within the Mumbai metropolitan region were selected in a two stage random sampling process. Area around each EI was manually mapped and all the tobacco products selling outlets with in the 100 yards distance were listed by trained Field Social Investigators and were observed to determine compliance for Section 5 and Section 6 of the COTPA legislation and for gutka and pan masala ban. The vendors/shop owners manning these outlets were also interviewed for their personal sociodemographic details, self-tobacco use, awareness and perception about ill-effects of tobacco and existing tobacco control legislation in the country.
Results: A total of 222 tobacco retail outlets were listed within 100 yards of the EI in violation to the provisions of Section 6 of COTPA, of which 72 (32.4%) were selling tobacco products on mobile structures. About 53.2% of the tobacco vendors were also users of some form of tobacco. Whereas, nearly 217 (97.7%) vendors were aware about the gutka and pan masala ban in the State, only 48.2% were aware about the existence of COTPA legislation. None of the EI had a display board prohibiting the sale of tobacco products within a radius of 100 yards of their EI. Only 56.3% tobacco outlets had complied with the mandatory warning display boards indicating tobacco products will not be sold to people below 18 years of age. With regards to point of sale advertisement only 25.2% compliance was noted for display of health warning boards at the point of sale. Nearly 48.6% tobacco outlets exhibited >2 display boards and another 43.2% exhibited hoardings with brand pack photo, brand name in violation to the provision under Section 5. Violation by visible stacking and open display of tobacco products for sale was observed at 51.3% of tobacco outlets. While 41% of tobacco outlets were found displaying gutka and pan masala packets in violation to the ban.
Conclusions: Enacting of the law without robust measures for enforcement has led to widespread noncompliance to the provisions with in the tobacco control legislation in the metropolitan city of Mumbai. Strong and sustainable measures needs to be incorporated both by civic administration and public health departments for its forceful implementation.